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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remembering Cross Carrier Chuck

Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at 10:26 PM

For 11 years, Chuck Johnson traveled the U.S., from coast to coast and back again, and then again, and again.

When I first came to work at the Nevada Daily Mail in 2002, there was a small photo in the newsroom of a man dragging a huge cross behind him. I asked about it, and I don't really recall the response -- but most likely there were shrugs and a brief explanation that oh, that's Cross Carrier Chuck. He's been through here a few times.

A few months later, I met him.

He'd been carrying that cross for a couple of years -- his first cross he'd made after having been down on his luck in Mexico. He'd had just enough money to buy the wood and wheels for the cross. That first, wooden cross was heavy, and by the time I met him he'd gone to a new model that was made of lighter materials.

Some people thought he was crazy. Some thought it was all a scam of some sort. Some said it was an interesting sight, and many admitted that seeing Cross Carrier Chuck trudge along the open road made them think about God.

I remember reacting with both a reporter's skepticism and a feeling of inspiration as well; and no one can see inside his heart. I only know what he said -- that his job, he felt, was to carry the cross, that God would do the rest.

This man, whether in his heart he was prophet, poet or charlatan, inspired me, and he inspired many others, too.

People would call the newsroom, excited and filled with renewed passion, because they had seen this man carrying a cross along U.S. 54.

He'd ask if he could pray with passers-by who stopped; and some would offer money, a room for the night, water, food and so forth. And so, Cross Carrier Chuck carried his cross. For more than 11 years.

It had been some time since Cross Carrier Chuck had passed through this area, so I did a search on the Internet, just to see if anyone else had written about him lately.

Sadly, I learned that Cross Carrier Chuck died in August. He died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Florence, S.C. He was 49.

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We Picked up Chuck (by no coincidence) outside of Asheville, NC. He was heading towards Myrtle Beach and was exhausted at a rest area off I-40. With a last minute lane change decision to abruptly exit to the rest area, our eyes locked as I pulled into the parking lot of the rest area. From there on, we were blessed to give him and his cross a ride to Hickory, NC where we heard many stories of his life of suffering and blessings. We left him with a hotel room and called in some reinforcements for food, and my wife and I cried all the way home out of sheer joy for having met this humble man. Yes, he was used by God to change lives by diverting their focus on Jesus and the Cross. No, he wasn't perfect, but was he supposed to be? I count it a great honor to have met this man and hauled him and his cross between Asheville and Hickory. I find it not of coincidence, but divine that he passed on the anniversary of his own baptism. That was one of his key points he would tell people.

-- Posted by DBlevins2464 on Sun, Jun 2, 2013, at 7:22 AM

I had the honor of meeting Chuck , one day I was on the way home from work and passed a man sitting on a back pack. as he wasn't trying to hitch hike I decided to investigate furthur. I pulled over about 100 yards past him and blew my horn. After about two minutes I looked in my rearview mirror and saw he was dragging a cross!I had heard of a man that did this, but never thought I would meet him. He ended up staying at a motel in West Tawakoni for three days and he and I went fishing and had a great time.

-- Posted by askdemetri@msn.com on Tue, Feb 25, 2014, at 11:30 AM

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Lynn Wade
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